11 February 2007

Twitter: cool or just silly?

Check out Twitter, a relatively new web app. It's very simple, it shows the status of people (here's ). Status is any short bit of text the person wants to state. When I first saw this, I thought it was just plain silly. Gee, do you really need up to the minute (or whatever) updates on what people are doing? Could people really keep it up to date enough to be http://www2.blogger.com/img/gl.link.gifinteresting/useful? Would people actually use it?

Tonight I was checking it out, and noticed that they have an ActionScript 3 library so as to make using their public API trivial from Flash/Flex apps (I'm using Flex a fair bit these days). I then noticed that you can update your status via IM as well as via SMS from your mobile phone. Ok, now it's getting a bit more interesting. Maybe you can keep it fairly up to date with relative ease.

Also the AS3 lib and API, as well as the ability to shield your status from the public (only your Twitter "friends" can see it), made me think about tieing this in to the Agile tasking tool we're working on for RailsConf. It could potentially be interesting to have a "work" Twitter account, and use the API to show people's status. You could then tie it in to the tasking app, and anytime anyone changed a task's status (for example, they set a task to now be "in progress", the app would shoot out a Twitter message (aka a "tweet") to indicate that. Then using the public API you could show your team's "timeline" on a web page. Useful? Questionable. Geeky fun? You bet.